Pay Our Interns was founded by two former unpaid interns, Carlos Mark Vera and Guillermo Creamer Jr. Together, both Carlos and Guillermo were interns in five different offices, including the House of Representatives, the White House, the D.C. Mayor, and the European Parliament. In September of 2016, the two shared their internship stories and realized that their hardship was a similar one. With the launch of the Pay Our Interns Facebook page in October 2016, the two quickly noticed that this social media campaign was going to be so much more than that. Within just a few weeks of launch, the campaign caught the attention of thousands of young adults and a few media outlets. Weeks after the 2016 presidential election, the two shifted the focus of the campaign to that of a non-profit. After a series personal meetings, phone calls, and email exchanges, by June 2017, a first of its kind Congressional Report titled Experience Doesn’t Pay the Bills listed which members of Congress paid and which did not. The report was received and shared by various news outlets highlighting the abysmal number of members who offered paid internships. This report provided the small team a threshold on what changes they wanted to see in Congress.
One year from publishing the report, Pay Our Interns worked with various offices, doubling the number of Senate Democrats who offered paid internships and increasing the number of Senate Republicans as well. Alongside these increases, the group also inserted themselves in the DNC Chair race and worked with each candidate to pledge their support in offering a paid internship program if elected. By the beginning of June 2018, the Pay Our Interns team had successfully worked with the DNC, DCCC, and several Senate offices to help create their paid internship programs. Alongside a group of bipartisan legislators, the team worked to help create the first ever internship fund allocation for the Senate at a healthy $5 million fund. A few weeks after a successful partnership with the Senate, the team worked with a group of bipartisan legislators on the House side and successfully secured $8.8 Million in intern funding. On October 3rd, 2018, the President of the United States signed a minibus budget that included $13.8 million in funding for an internship program in Congress.
Carlos Mark Vera, Co-Founder / Executive Director
Guillermo Creamer, Co-Founder / Deputy Director
William A. Powers, Of Counsel
Rose Lopez, Outreach and Research Associate
Arielle Geismar, Communications and Social Media Associate
Trevor Smith, Outreach Director
Trevor Smith handles all public facing messaging and materials. He is currently a Media Strategist at the New York Civil Liberties Union, where he develops and executes communications strategies to support a variety of different projects, campaigns, and litigation efforts, and works to shape the organization’s voice across the New York and national media landscape. Before joining the NYCLU, he worked on poverty and federal budget issues as a Communications Associate at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Smith graduated with a B.A. in Journalism from American University and is currently studying at New York University in the Public Administration and Nonprofit Management program, where he specializes in race, gender, and class.
Muhammad T. Alameldin, Regional Director
Muhammad Tarek Alameldin is the Regional director for the Western United States. He was unable to take an unpaid internship during his time at the University of California, Berkeley. Muhammad was lucky enough acquire a paid position as a Policy Research Intern for the Office of Mayor Tubbs in Stockton, California. For Pay Our Interns, he started as a Policy Research intern and moved his way up to his current position. During his time at POI, the organization collaborated with Congress to establish $14 million paid internship program on Capitol Hill.
Muhammad understands that paid internship programs are necessary for a more inclusive representation in government.
Serena Saunders, Expansion Associate
Serena Saunders is a rising senior at the University of Maryland, where she majors in public policy and minors in history and rhetoric. She is simultaneously earning her Master in Public Policy degree. Previously, she has interned for MaryPIRG, CLIA, Running Start and the UMD A. James Clark School of Engineering. She works as Development Director at Everyday Canvassing. She is passionate about improving our democracy through increasing political representation of underrepresented groups and expanding the right to vote.